by C. LaRene Hall
and A Bunch of Other Stuff taught by Sarah Eden. This workshop kept us all entertained and yet I learned a great deal.
Romantic elements are important in any genre. Love is a universal human experience and emotion. Love is a basic human need. Including romance in your story adds depth.
In a romance, the stories basic question is will the couple end up together? If the book focus isn’t will the couple end up together it is probably not a romance. The story question answer is always yes. They end up together in a committed happy relationship. The love story is what drives the plot. It is never secondary to any other plot line. 2/3 of story is romance. The romance is the point of the story. Reader expects to read about love.
Common romance pitfalls that are hard to get right –
1. Love in a vacuum. Nothing going on in their life except this romance. There has to be something else.
2. Your characters have to have something else going on in their life, but don’t let subplots take over.
3. Romantic tension relies too much (or entirely) on the physical. There has to be more.
4. Little or no romantic tension.
5. The characters have to be together.
6. Weak sources of conflict.
7. The love has no foundation. If the only source is good looks that’s not much of a foundation. The reader needs a change to get to know your characters and they need to get to know each other.There has to be a foundation.
Romances are character driver – the reader has to like your character. The reader has to care about the characters. If you don’t put something in that is unique it will read like every other romance.
Every great romance or romantic plotline needs –
1. An Emotional connection – romance is all about emotion. The characters have to have a connection to each other. There has to be a reason why they love each other. Because they are both totally hot doesn’t work.
2. Emotional connections require interaction and time. The reader needs to see strengths and weaknesses in characters; realness. Perfect characters are not real. It’s hard to relate to someone who is perfect. In a romance, you want the heroine to be like you or your best friend and you want to fall in love with the hero. Remember, it’s a matter of balance Let your character be real. The reader needs a reason to cheer for the couple as individuals and together. Your reader needs to want them to be happy. The reader already knows how it ends so you need to pull them in so they know what happens.
3. You need fulfillment – the story needs to range from shallow to deep. This is what will give it depth. You connect them to each other. Find out what your character is lacking. One needs to compliment the other. The deeper the need, the deeper the connection should be. They need to have similar interests, and same end goals.
4. Figure out what your hero and heroine need in a significant other. Someone who completes us. If they have needs it makes them a deeper character. If needs conflict it is hard to work out but automatically brings in tension. With roadblock it gives you a plot line because of conflict, and especially if the other person loves them anyway.
5. The couple is something to each other that no one else is or can be. Their relationship has to be unique. Love triangles are popular. Even if you know why they end up together no one else can be what they are together. In a love triangle someone has to win. When they end up together the reader can recognize why it turned out that way.
6. If their connection is not unique, it will lack impact and will not be satisfying for your reader. This is the reason their connection must go beyond love at first sight, infatuation, or physical pleasure. It has to go beyond or you haven’t done anything unique.
7. Start romance with intrigue, a connection from the beginning, even though it is tentative and hilariously unwelcome. Curiousity – the way the both help out each other’s loved ones builds that emotional connection.
8. In what ways are they the only ones who could be right for each other?